Durwood Woodrow Stephens peacefully passed away on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Wiggins.
He was born on September 16, 1948, in Philadelphia, to Woodrow and Bertha Mae Stephens.
Durwood moved to Wiggins with his family at an early age. He played football for Stone High School from the eighth grade through his senior year. As a star football player, Durwood was named Most Athletic in 1966. He was also named Prep All American, Gulf Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Outstanding Lineman of the Year, and participated in the 1966 Mississippi All-Star Football Game. He graduated from Stone High School in 1966.
Durwood was recruited by all schools in the Southeastern Conference. Much to the dismay of Paul “Bear” Bryant, he chose to play football at Mississippi State University. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from MSU in 1970.
After graduation, Durwood returned to Wiggins to work in a business owned by his family and the Hood Family, Wiggins Lumber Company, where he served as plant manager. Durwood later became plant superintendent of Hood Industries Wiggins. Altogether, he worked in the wood industry for more than 50 years.
Durwood served on the Board of Directors at First National Bank of Wiggins from 1973 until they merged with The First. He was a page in Washington, D.C., for Representative Arthur Winstead, Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District and is a member of the U.S. Capitol Page Alumni Association. He served as a Colonel on the staff of Governor Bill Waller, and as a Lt. Governor on the staffs of Governor Ross Barnett and Governor Paul B Johnson. He was a past member of the Masterlinks Motorcycle Club, the Stone County Jaycees, Pine Burr Recreational Association, and the M-Club of Mississippi State University. He and his wife have led the effort to provide a special Christmas celebration for Stone County Foster Children. Durwood and his family attended the First United Methodist of Wiggins.
Durwood was preceded in death by his parents Woodrow and Bertha Mae Stephens; and his niece, Candy Stephens Brunschon.
He is survived by his loving wife, Johnnette Dees Stephens; his children, Heath Stephens, Nikki Stephens (Randy) Kiser, and Brandon (Erica) Stephens; his former wife and mother of his children, Elaine Stephens Brockmeyer; his brother, Johnnie Lee (Glenda) Stephens, Sr.; his sister, Suzan Stephens (Mark) Bounds; his sister-in-law, Helen Dees; his grandchildren, Alex Lyons, Price Kiser (Lesley Perkins), Lauryn Stephens, Madeline Stephens (her mother Grace Ford), and Presley Kay Stephens; his great grandchildren, Audrey Jo Vance, Kash Vance, and Beau Kiser; his nephew, Johnnie Lee Stephens, Jr.; his nieces, Kallie Bounds (Mark) Lefler, and Stephanie Stephens (Devon) Vowell; and many loyal, loving, and special friends.
The family thanks Dr. Michael Stonnington, Dr. Mahmud Samra, Dr. Andrew Lin, Dr. Randall Smith, The caring staff of the 9th floor of Forrest General Hospital, Solace Hospice, Wiggins Fire Department, Dennis Barnett, Matt Barnett, and Tabatha Coulter and also Moore Funeral Service.
The family will receive friends 1-3 p.m. on Friday, May 31, at Moore Funeral Home in Wiggins.
Services will begin at 3 p.m., Friday in the funeral home's chapel.
Burial will follow in Perkinston Cemetery.
Moore Funeral Services - Wiggins is assisting the family with the arrangements.